In 2008, Chinese manufacturers added melamine chemicals to milk products, including infant formula, so that their products could appear to have high levels of protein in laboratory tests. Six babies died and hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to the contaminated milk.
These latest bogus organic labeling scams have prompted some local food advocates in the U.S. to take a hard line against imported foods. Mark Kastel, co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit supporting small-scale ecological farming, believes that importing food from China and elsewhere violates the spirit of sustainability, which he defines as minimizing the distance between consumers and producers, and assuring transparency in how food is grown. Organic consumers “want to pay more and so they know more,” said Kastel. For consumers, paying a premium for organic food makes less sense when food importers are found to be falsifying organic certification.
This post is part of an ongoing partnership between Civil Eats and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism News21 course on food reporting. Over the next several months we will regularly feature stories from students in the class.
Here's the conundrum: buy USA grown products, locally at best, but try not to buy GMO based goods such as corn, soy, wheat unless they list organic as source. Boy, does this tighten selection ... and crank the cost of groceries in the effort to support local farming and family's health!
It would be best if China were to enforce stricter rules and regulations on those who create fake goods and certificates.